I am about to turn 30*. What better time could there be to reflect on the important literature I was reading a decade and a half ago? This is adulting, people. Forget figuring out your 401k: real adult behavior is tracking down as many early Sweet Valley University books as you possibly can, and nearly weeping with joy over their trashy perfection.
I mean, there’s implied sex in these books. Drugs. Sociopaths obsessed with Elizabeth Wakefield. Although I guess you’d be hard pressed to find a Sweet Valley series that DIDN’T have sociopaths obsessed with Elizabeth Wakefield. Maybe the one where they’re seven and in second grade, but I wouldn’t bet my apartment on it.
In case you don’t remember this amazing series, a few highlights (not in order, ‘cause who can keep all this nonsense straight?**) from the first ten books:
- Elizabeth gets ‘fat’. Fat just means that she gains, oh, twenty pounds, but the entire campus reacts as though she’s morbidly obese, and of course once she puts her mind to it the pounds magically go away.
- Jessica becomes a waitress. Hilarity ensues.
- Enid changes her name to Alex and becomes an alcoholic.
- Todd and Elizabeth break up. He also becomes an alcoholic.
- It’s never clear how all these 18 year olds are getting so much booze so easily. I guess it’s like Dillon Texas, where 15 year old football players are more than welcome at every bar in town.
- Elizabeth is nearly murdered. Multiple times.
- Jessica gets married. The marriage eventually gets annulled.
- Lila gets married to an Italian count. The marriage ends in a fatal jet ski accident.***
- Elizabeth has a crazy Southern roommate who seduces a biology student and gets him to release a ton of fruit flies in Elizabeth and Jessica’s dorm room. By the time this happens, they’re both so immune to the insanity of their lives that they’re like ‘oh, look, fruit flies.’
- Winston gets assigned to a girls dorm and ends up learning a lot about Womanhood And Himself.
- Sorority drama. It’s pretty much just the Unicorn Club all over again.
- Elizabeth and her new boyfriend are so fucking obsessed with themselves that they make a big damn deal about their one week anniversary, to the point that all their friends end up planning a surprise party for them and they all eat ice cream together. Really.
- Bruce and Lila are involved in a terrible plane crash. They fall in hate-love. It is awesome.
- Stephen Wakefield shoots Jessica’s husband. Or he shoots himself during a dramatic scuffle. Something soapy like that.
- Jessica is almost raped. She is saved by Elizabeth and a mysterious stranger.
- Aggressive racists.
- Lila, wracked with grief over the death of her husband, gives away all of her clothes. And not to me. There’s real tragedy for you.
I mean, it goes on and on. That’s not nearly all of it. I advise you all to quit your jobs immediately and dedicate your lives to reliving this awesomeness. Totally worth it.
It kinda makes me wish there’d been a Babysitters Club: The College Years. I bet things would get real wacky over at Stoneybrook University.
* in two days. I feel like this about it.
** I could.
** I could.
*** I bet you don’t believe this is real.